There’s an interesting tug of war that happens when we fail, and it’s even more interesting how we accommodate the duality. Of course, we want to forget failure, but at the same time, we have to remember the lessons learned. I have found that I do my best work after my biggest mistakes and that’s mostly because the memory is so painful that I do everything in my power to never let it happen again.
Also, it’s easier to move on from failure than it is with a win. After a grand slam, out of the park success, I think, “I could lose this.” The American mentality is you’re only as good as your last performance. But when we strike out, it’s easy to get back to work and do different/better next time because hey, you sucked that last time.
Failure is also humbling. It’s therapeutic. It cleanses. It forces you to stop, access the situation and remind you of where you are.
I’m thinking about all of this as I plan my fall and winter sewing because like death and taxes, failure is inevitable. It will happen. So, if I set out to make 5 pieces in the next 6 months, should I expect, maybe even plan, for at least 1 to be a failure? A lot of sewers get into a sewing rut after a horrible make, but if he or she plans for it, it might make the blow a little less painful. This might be a grim, pessimistic way to look at the situation, but life is not all unicorns and happy, pretty flowers. There should be no shame in failure either. Just like the warriors in The Odyssey, we shouldn’t hide our wounds, but acknowledge them as a badge of honor.